The June 3rd eruption of the “Volcan de Fuego” in Guatemala has claimed 65 lives, displaced 3,500 people and affected at least 1.7 million people, according to local media reports. It is expected that the death toll will rise in the coming hours, given that there are several communities near the volcano that authorities have not yet been able to contact. The priority right now is to save lives in or near the disaster area, however, persistent rains and falling ash are making this task more difficult.
Oxfam and its partners are evaluating the situation on the ground in close coordination with the Guatemalan government through its National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, known as CONRED. Any humanitarian response will guarantee the rights of those most vulnerable, which in any disaster situation tend to be women and children.
Typically, in this type of emergency, access to drinking water is a pressing need and so Oxfam will focus its first actions on providing safe water to the affected population. Oxfam, with the support of its partner organizations, will begin distributing water filters and hygiene kits to the affected areas starting June 5th.